Turtle Reef is the northernmost reef off the Florida Keys

Turtle Reef is marked with four mooring buoys, T1 thru T4. The depth here ranges from 10' to 25'. It’s located off the community of Ocean Reef. It’s the northernmost reef in the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary. The GPS coordinates are 25'16.927N and 080'12.425W.

Squid at Turtle Reef

This reef doesn’t get crowded like all the other popular dive sites in the Key Largo area because of its location. It’s a relatively shallow dive site. It’s teaming with marine life of all species. Nurse Shark seem to really like this place. There’s rock caves and archways, holes, ledges crevices and large formations of star coral that come to within 10' of the surface of the water. The visibility is usually fabulous here and you don’t have the strong currents of the Gulfstream due to its protected location.

At the north end of the reef in 10' to 15' feet of water is the Thiorva Wreck. She was a 200' wooden schooner. She was carrying a cargo of lumber when she struck the reef and sank. All that’s left of her is her big anchor and a couple of cannons. In the 1950's a nameplate for the ship was found buried in the sand. If it were not for that her name would never have been known. Little else is known about her.

This is NOT a Sanctuary Preservation Area, so it’s OK to take fish and lobster from here. You do need to have a Florida Saltwater Fishing License and a lobster endorsement if you’re planning to catch lobster. If you’re just fishing then all you need is the fishing license.

Return from Turtle Reef to Dive Site List

Return from Turtle Reef to Dive Site List